People do exercise for lots of reasons. For example, many enjoy yoga because it makes them more flexible which is a good way of protecting them from arthritis and osteoporosis. However, for most people the main benefit from exercise is to get stronger through lifting weights.
Not only do you feel good but you also look good when you achieve that toned muscular physique. That’s why it’s no surprise that most exercise equipment that you find at high street gyms and home gyms are focused on building muscles whether that is the abdominals, arms and legs.
Unfortunately, many people are not getting the best results from their workouts because they are using misguided or outdated information. By correcting this issue you will achieve far better results in terms of muscle gains as well as avoiding injury.
Here are 2 of the most widespread myths about building muscles
Myth One – Weight lifting machines isolate muscles to develop extra strength
One of the main benefits of joining a gym or fitness club is that you can use expensive exercise equipment that you would not be able to afford for your home. Another factor is that weight lifting exercise machines are heavy and take up a lot of space. Many of these modern exercise machines are designed to focus on particular parts of the body or specific muscle groups.
For example, there are machines that target your glutes, obliques, abdominals and quads etc. These machines are designed to restrict body movement which means the machines focus on contracting the muscles to increase their size. However, they do not increase muscle strength for 2 important reasons. Firstly, when contracting isolated muscles other core muscle groups are ignored. When the targeted muscle does not have the support of other secondary muscle group’s gains in strength and power are diminished.
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Another problem is that it can be quite difficult to achieve equal proportions between supporting and opposing muscle groups. This is actually a common problem among people who don’t really know what they are doing. Many injuries and muscle strains are the results of an imbalance in strength, size and development between different muscle groups. Using free weights and body weight exercises engage all muscle groups. These types of exercises should be used before you progress to using weight machines.
Myth Two – Strong Muscles Are Tight Muscles
Whether you like to pump a few reps with heavier weights or use multiple sets with lighter weights, contraction is the most essential movement that builds muscle strength. With a lack of exercise your muscles become weak and flabby. Although the objective and natural result to contraction is to tighten up the muscle, this happens only temporarily. Muscles that are chronically contracted and tight miss a proportion of its future potential contraction.
In addition, the connective tissue is put under more strain and increases the risk of injuries and conditions such as rotator cuff ears and Iliotibial band syndrome. As it turns out, muscles that are flexible are the strongest and stretching help them to return to a natural length.
The importance of stretching in preventing injury is often underestimated and some form of stretching should be performed at the end of your workout routines. In addition to stretching after you lift weights, stretching can be performed during contractions such as isolated stretches, Pilates and yoga.